NC, Madhes parties at odds over share of Province 2 seats

Published On: October 26, 2017 02:15 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 26: A serious dispute has surfaced between the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) on one hand and  Madhes-based parties Rastriya Janata Party and Federal Socialist Forum (FSFN) on the other over electoral alliance in Province 2 for the upcoming parliamentary and provincial assembly polls.

The dispute emerged as RJPN and FSFN together have demanded at least 24 out of the total 32 parliamentary constituencies for their share in  Province 2. It will be recalled that the provincial assembly constituencies are exactly double the number of parliamentary constituencies.

However,  NC  wants at least 18 parliamentary constituencies in its share, leaving only the remaining 14 for RJPN and FSFN. 

A senior RJPN leader involved in  negotiations with NC over the electoral alliance said they have proposed supporting  NC in constituencies adjoining the East-West Highway in exchange for NC's support to RJPN and FSFN senior leaders contesting the polls from  Province 2. "We have asked NC to support our senior leaders in return for our support to NC candidates in  constituencies adjoining the East-West Highway, where UML has a strong presence," the leader said, asking not to be named. 

Sources said NC has officially requested  RJPN not to field  Rajendra Mahat in Dhanusha 3 where NC is planning to field Bimalendra Nidhi. Similarly, NC has also asked  RJPN and FSFN to support NC candidate Amaresh Kumar Singh in Sarlahi-4. "Our position is clear. We cannot leave both these constituencies to NC," the leader further said.
As the parties  need to settle their constituency sharing issues within a few days, RJPN leaders Mahantha Thakur and Sarbendra Nath Shukla had  reached the Prime Minister's Official Residence at Baluwatar for negotiations  Tuesday evening. Sources said they have not been able to reach any final agreement on the number of constituencies to be shared among them. 

Senior RJPN leader Keshab Jha said they are still in negotiations with  NC over the sharing of constituencies. "While we have a compulsion to maintain an alliance with  NC, we are not in a position to  relenquish the number of constituencies that NC is now seeking," he said. 

Earlier,  RJPN and FSFN had decided to forge an electoral alliance between them in the inner belt of  Province 2 and support NC in the highway areas in order to thwart the possible victory of the leftist alliance. Leaders said fresh negotiations are underway to forge electoral alliance even in  constituencies lying in the inner belt as their failure to close ranks there could eventually benefit the UML-Maoist alliance.

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